With the new school calendar officially released and intra-provincial travel open once again, South African families are likely to start making plans to escape the confines of their homes for a well-deserved family-friendly holiday break.
Unfortunately, the stringent COVID-19 guidelines dictate that common areas largely remain closed, and pools remain off-limits. So how then can hotels attract the local family traveller?
The Jurni team has decided to look into some fresh, creative and innovative ideas to boost a hotel’s appeal to families.
1. Compile family-friendly packages
Most families love package offers, complete with meals, activities and perks. Research shows that those packages with activities for young children and early-year adolescents, in particular, are the most successful.
Target the school holidays and remind families to spend time together during their time-off and reconnect while enjoying experiences together. Although the new school calendar doesn’t include many ‘free’ days, there are still opportunities to leverage.
24 September is Heritage Day and falls on a Thursday. It’s a good idea to put together a Heritage Weekend package for families to discover their own region with their families over this long weekend.
The only longer holiday is from 23 October to 02 November. Make the most of this week and put together exciting itineraries for families with children.
2. Team up with local attractions
The pool might remain off-limits, but that doesn’t mean the attractions in your neighbourhood are a no-go.
The last thing parents want to hear on a well-deserved break and the three most-dreaded words kids can utter: ‘I am bored’. Reach out to local guides, attractions and hotspots to find synergies and become a local authority on attractive family activities.
Even if you don’t have a lot of activities nearby, look into the possibility of geocaching in your area. A modern treasure hunt, geocaching is a very appealing offering for young kids, and fun for adults as well.
3. Focus on family-friendly amenities
Focus on offering simple amenities, such as family room deals.
A few simple items can go a long way in making your establishment stand out for parents travelling with babies. Make sure you have a crib, pram, babysitting service, nappy bins, changing mats, bottle warmers and offer a service to procure baby essentials such as nappies, wipes and cream when needed.
For toddlers, kids and teens, a simple welcome pack can win over young hearts. You can include hotel T-shirts, colouring books or teddy bears, or any other items that speak to your brand.
If you have a restaurant on-site, look into adding a few special meals for younger guests. You can also introduce some ‘fun’ elements, such as a sweet-tooth-taming delivery of candy, chocolate bars or gummy bears to the hotel room.
4. Don’t forget ‘mom and dad’
Your establishment needs to appeal to toddlers and teens, but ultimately ‘mom and dad’ will decide where to go. Propose activities parents can enjoy together, such as a romantic meal or picnic, or a star-gazing activity. Don’t forget to mention that you have babysitting services available on-site.
5. Make it easy for families to book
Make sure your establishment features an online booking platform, making it easy for prospective families to book. Parents are looking for convenience – from booking to checking in to the actual holiday.
A booking tool doesn’t need to be expensive either. Jurni has developed an affordable booking tool that allows businesses to update their message, rates or special offers; manage booking requests and changes; manage customer communication and feedback and manage confirmations and payments. With no sign-up fees or hidden costs.
South African families want to make happy memories after months of having been locked down into their houses. With just a few simple steps, you can make sure your hotel becomes the family-friendly holiday they are looking for. Don’t miss this opportunity!